Best Places To Visit In South America With Kids For An Unforgettable Adventure

Two kids sit atop a cliff with a view of Valle de la Luna Atacama below in Chile, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Tracey Prior

When it comes to family vacations, South America has something for everyone. Families can explore and learn about this diverse continent, from the majestic Amazon rainforest to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. Buenos Aires, Argentina, offers cultural immersion with its iconic tango performances and bustling local markets. Then, Patagonia provides glaciers and an abundance of wildlife; from penguins to sea lions! To name two examples! No matter what interests you and your family have, South America is sure to provide a captivating adventure to ignite curiosity among your little ones. Here’s a roundup of the best places to visit in South America with kids – don’t forget these helpful tips!

Galápagos Islands

A Wildlife Wonderland for Curious Minds

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Diane Oliveira, Emily Gomez

The Galápagos Islands, a premier destination for South American vacations for families, is the perfect spot for knowledge seekers. Situated in Ecuador’s coastal region, the cluster of islands is praised for its remarkable biodiversity. Young children may not be ideal travelers here; however, older ones ranging from 8 and up will experience an adventure like no other. Accommodations vary from luxurious sailing boat trips to budget-friendly ecological havens, so parents needn’t worry about costs. Without a doubt, the Galápagos offer a truly unique exploration opportunity!

Things to Do in The Galápagos Islands with Kids

A dad stands with his young daughter, he is pointing at several large black iguanas.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

For families with an adventurous streak, exciting activities beckon both on land and at sea. One must-visit spot is Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island. Relax on pristine white sand beaches while observing marine iguanas basking under the sun. There’s also a 1.5-mile hike to the beach that’s easy enough for kids and features incredible views. Kids also have the opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island.

Here, they can discover more about Darwin’s theories and witness firsthand the dedicated scientists working towards preserving these unique islands. Another highlight for kids is snorkeling off Santa Cruz Island’s Playa de Los Alemanes, where they can marvel at vibrant marine life, such as playful sea lions, sea turtles, and schools of tropical fish. 

Book tours and things to do in the Galápagos Islands with Tripadvisor!

A young girl stands in front of two seals, while exploring the Galapagos Islands, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Emily Gomez

For adrenaline-seeking families, hiking Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island provides breathtaking views of its enormous crater while allowing youngsters to appreciate our planet’s natural wonders. Additionally, a family cruise guarantees exciting encounters with penguins on Bartolomé Island or blue-footed boobies on Genovesa Island – experiences that will surely ignite their passion for wildlife conservation. Numerous tour operators provide curated, family-friendly packages and incorporate age-appropriate activities. No wonder this is one of the best places to travel in South America for families.

RELATED: Family Vacations to Plan a Year in Advance

Brazil

A Multifaceted Family Wonderland

Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

Choosing the top sites to visit in South America with the family is easy when Brazil is on the table! From Rio de Janeiro’s hustle and bustle to the awe-inspiring Amazon Rainforest, there is something here for everyone. Not to mention, its cuisine offers extensive possibilities – from feijoada (a black bean stew) to pão de queijo (cheese bread) and brigadeiros (chocolate truffles), it has treats guaranteed to please people of all ages! Keep reading to learn about one of the top South American vacations with kids.

Things to Do in Brazil with Kids

Two young kids enjoy a view of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

Known for its iconic Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janeiro is a bustling city boasting stunning beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema. Families can bask under the glorious sun or build sandcastles together. Or, take a cable car ride up to Sugarloaf Mountain on the Bondinho do Pão de Açúcar for beautiful city views. If your kids are soccer fans, why not catch a match at Maracanã Stadium? The passion and energy in Brazilian football matches are truly unmatched.

For those seeking cultural experiences, cities like Salvador and Olinda offer glimpses into Brazil’s rich history with their colonial architecture and lively Afro-Brazilian traditions. 

Research top activities in Brazil here with Tripadvisor!

People wander around a platform, enjoying views of Iguazu Falls.
Photo Courtesy: Maria Carolina

Brazil is also home to some incredible surfing spots along its coast. Of course, animal lovers can’t miss a visit to the Amazon Rainforest and a boat ride on the Amazon River. In the Pantanal region, the world’s largest tropical wetland, families can also embark on a safari and spot animals such as jaguars, caimans, and capybaras in their natural habitat. ​​

Another location worth mentioning is Foz do Iguaçu on the border of Brazil and Argentina; here, families can witness nature’s power at Iguazu Falls. Finally, explore the Fernando de Noronha archipelago through snorkeling or revel in the waters of Bonito. Undoubtedly, Brazil is one of the best places to travel in South America with kids.

Book an experience to Iguazu Falls here with Tripadvisor!

Peru

A Family Adventure Amidst Ancient Marvels and Cultural Riches

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Elena Voleac, Paige Trager Janco

Next on our list of the best places to visit in South America with kids is Peru! Families adore Peru for its natural wonders, historical experiences, and delicious cuisine. In fact, this fascinating destination features fun experiences for all ages, from Lima to the famed Machu Picchu. There are tons of great Peruvian dishes that families love, too. While parents enjoy ceviche (raw seafood marinated in citrus juices), kids will love lomo saltado (stir-fried beef) or causa (a layered potato dish)! 

Things to Do in Peru with Kids

A family of four stands in front of an expansive view of Machu Picchu in Peru, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Manali Tal

Take a stroll through the Miraflores district’s picturesque parks in Lima, known for its rich history and vibrant culture. Or, explore Love Park with its iconic sculptures and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The Larco Museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian art. Kids will love the galleries filled with intricate pottery and gold artifacts and learning about Peru’s ancient civilizations.

Then, the Amazon Jungle is also just a short flight away from Lima. Discover unique fauna and flora species in this biodiverse paradise through hikes or boat expeditions along the Amazon River. In Paracas, witness an array of exotic wildlife on a Ballestas Islands tour or venture into the desert dunes on buggy rides. There’s also Nazca, where you can marvel at the mysterious Nazca Lines from above during a scenic flight. 

Choose From Nazca: 35-Minute Flight Over Nazca Lines through Getyourguide!

A young girl holds a baby alpaca, while exploring a market in Cusco, Peru.
Photo Courtesy: Jill Rippy Worden

Finally, don’t miss the chance to head to Cusco and trek along the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu—an ancient citadel nestled high amidst magnificent mountains. This unique archaeological site will awe children and adults as they learn about the fascinating Inca civilization! Lastly, no trip to Peru would be complete without seeing Lake Titicaca’s magical islands, such as Uros and Taquile, where families can learn about local traditions such as knitting and floating reed houses from natives.

Click here to read An Exciting Peru Family Vacation Itinerary: 7-10 Days For Your Entire Family

Chile

Otherworldly Landscapes

Person standing beside the seashore in La Cruces Region de Valparaiso in Chile, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Alisha Lubben

Family travelers with kids can expect endless adventure and natural beauty in Chile. It’s definitely one of South America’s best places to visit with kids because of its stunning landscapes and otherworldly terrain. Undoubtedly, Patagonia’s stunning landscapes and the Atacama Desert’s otherworldly terrain await your family.

Things to Do in Chile with Kids

Two kids play together in the Atacama Desert.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

Families can explore various child-friendly attractions starting in Santiago, the country’s vibrant capital. The interactive Museo Interactivo Mirador offers hands-on exhibits on science and technology, while Parque Bicentenario provides ample green spaces for picnics and recreational activities. And don’t forget to try some delicious local cuisine while you’re there!

Further south lies the enchanting Lake District, where children can marvel at towering volcanoes such as Osorno. Or, enjoy boating on pristine lakes like Llanquihue. In this region, adventure awaits at Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, which offers zipline tours through dense rainforests and encounters with native wildlife. A must-visit place is Easter Island—a remote island located over 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast. Here, kids will be captivated by its enigmatic Moai statues and stunning landscapes, perfect for hiking and exploring ancient ruins. 

San Pedro de Atacama, in northern Chile, presents the perfect chance to immerse yourself in stunning desert scapes and geothermal wonders. Stargazing is a must for all families, with night skies displaying some of the most dazzling constellations and galaxies around. If you’re looking for something educational, guided tours teach children about the celestial sphere. And Valle de la Luna’s salt flats and lagoons add an otherworldly perspective to your trip. Lastly, no Chilean vacation would be complete without a visit to Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park, offering magnificent views of glacial mountains.

Research things to do and activities in Chile with Getyourguide!

Colombia

Vibrant Culture and Coastal Beauty

A boat rests along the shore at Tayrona Park in Colombia, with lush mountains in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: Max Pixel

Colombia offers families plenty of fun in the sun, making it one of the best places to visit in South America with kids. While exploring this gorgeous country, you can do everything from relaxing on the beach to learning local history as you meander through ancient ruins. Plus, no one will be able to resist the amazing food here, including the pickiest of eaters! Keep reading to learn more about exploring one of South America’s most unique destinations for families – Colombia.

Things to Do in Colombia with Kids

Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

In Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, families can explore the enchanting streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood or wander around the Gold Museum. It showcases an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts. Family-friendly attractions such as Maloka Interactive Center—a science museum featuring interactive exhibits designed to ignite curiosity—also give kids a chance to explore and learn through hands-on experiences.

Then, there’s Medellín, known for its stunning landscapes and mild climate. The Parque Explora stands out as an exceptional spot for families, offering a variety of educational exhibitions about nature and wildlife conservation. Don’t miss Cerro Nutibara either; this small hill houses Pueblito Paisa—an exact replica of a traditional Colombian village. 

Research top things to do in Colombia here with Tripadvisor!

Girl in dress and straw hat in front of blue and pink shops in Cartagena, Colombia.
Photo Courtesy: Marina Nicholl

Finally, families love Cartagena! Known for its colonial charm, Cartagena offers tons of activities even for the youngest of travelers! Start by exploring the old town by scaling the imposing Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Then, take a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride. The Rosario Islands nearby are great for snorkeling or simply building sandcastles.

For nature and outdoor lovers, Tayrona National Natural Park offers stunning sights. At the same time, San Andrés provides families with perfect opportunities to bask in the sun and partake in all kinds of water sports, such as kayaking and snorkeling. All these make Cartagena one of the best cities to visit in South America with kids!

Read our list to discover Where To Stay In Cartagena

Panama

Rainforests and Urban Wonders

Photo Courtesy: Emma Kendall

As one of the best South American vacations, Panama will be a hit with all ages! Planning a trip to Panama for your family ensures you will visit one of the best places to visit in South America with kids. Here, you can embark on adventures through lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and other diverse landscapes. Not to mention, you will have tons of opportunities to make memories together!

Things to Do in Panama with Kids

Biomuseo in Panama, one of the best places in South America with kids.

Panama City, the country’s urban hub, presents a mix of history, modernity, and cultural experiences. As one of the safest cities in South America to visit with kids, one must-visit location for families is the Biomuseo. This extraordinary museum, designed by Frank Gehry, showcases the country’s rich biodiversity in a fun and interactive way. For history enthusiasts, Casco Viejo, the old town, is filled with charm and character; narrow cobbled streets transport families back in time as they explore colorful colonial buildings and fascinating ruins. 

Afterward, take your kids to the Panama Canal Museum. Here, they can learn about one of the most unique engineering feats in the world! Visiting here is a fantastic chance to learn about local history, civil engineering, and other topics. You can also see the actual canal from Miraflores Locks.

Another popular spot is Boquete, a scenic town nestled in the highlands with magnificent mountain views. Known for its coffee plantations, kids can learn about the process of growing coffee while breathing in the crisp air at places such as Don Pepe Estate Coffee Farm. Finally, no trip to Panama would be complete without experiencing Soberania National Park – a lush rainforest teeming with monkeys, sloths, toucans, and other bird species that will leave both parents and children amazed.

Book top things to do in Panama with Tripadvisor here!

Read our article on Cartagena With Kids – 20 Amazing Things To Do!

Argentina

A Multicultural Getaway

Left photo of a toddler in a stroller with graffiti on the background and photo on the right has a sale toddler holding a boat steering wheel.
Photo Courtesy: Kelli Levesque Wein

Next, add Argentina to your South America bucket list! Undoubtedly, this diverse country is one of the best places to visit in South America with kids. Start your exploration by enjoying the scenic vineyards near Mendoza. Plus, kids won’t want to miss seeing the Magellanic penguins waddling about near Punta Tombo. With so many thrilling things to do across the country, you can’t go wrong with exploring this vibrant country.

Things to Do in Argentina with Kids

Two young kids wearing warm clothes look at glaciers within Patagonia, one of the best places in South America with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

Buenos Aires, one of the best cities to visit in South America with kids, is known for its blend of beauty and convenience, and offers a wealth of experiences. Start at Plaza de Mayo, where the iconic Casa Rosada resides. Then, explore Microcentro’s bustling pedestrian street filled with shops and cafes. Avenida 9 de Julio, famed as one of the widest streets, features an obelisk, a popular spot for photos. Saturdays bring the artisan fair in Recoleta, a charming neighborhood bordering Bosques de Palermo, a sprawling park reminiscent of Central Park. Palermo offers its own charm (don’t miss the chance to visit the Latin American Art Museum (MALBA)). At the same time, San Telmo’s cobblestone streets and tango bars provide a glimpse of the city’s heritage. Kids will also be fascinated by the colorful houses in the La Boca neighborhood, the Museo de los Niños Abasto, or a visit to Parque de la Costa, an amusement park in Tigre. 

For an escape from urban exploration, travel south to Patagonia. Here, families will find breathtaking landscapes perfect for hiking and spotting native wildlife. The awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier, in Los Glaciares National Park, is best seen by boat tour. Kids will delight in weaving between floating icebergs.

In northern Argentina, Salta province is home to towns like Cachi and Cafayate, surrounded by stunning valleys and vineyards. Families can embark on exhilarating mountain biking tours or hop on board the famous “Tren a las Nubes” (Train to the Clouds) for an unforgettable scenic ride through high-altitude landscapes and dramatic bridges.

Research and reserve your tours in Argentina with Getyourguide!

Happy Travels!

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Emily Gomez, Regina Picazo, Jill Rippy Worden

We hope you enjoyed reading Exploring the Wonders of South America: Best Places to Visit in South American Destinations with Kids! Throughout this remarkable continent, there are endless opportunities for exploration and learning, from visiting the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru to exploring the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Have a great time at these South American destinations with kids!

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.